“I have only seen a peaceful, civil and respectful belief system that is far different than what is presented in mainstream media.”
Port Washington, NY
I don’t think that there is a substantial understanding of Muslim and Islamic culture in America. One of the main reasons behind this is that the news media doesn’t do a good enough job of educating people about what Muslim culture really is.
Popular news outlets present a picture of Islam through a sensationalist lens, using acts of terrorism as an almost exclusive means of portrayal. This, in combination with the sentiment espoused by many politicians, has convinced a large portion of America that Islam is synonymous with violent fundamentalism.
From what I know, fundamentalists represent only a small portion of the Muslim population. In my personal experience seeing Muslims in my daily life, I have only seen a peaceful, civil and respectful belief system that is far different than what is presented in mainstream media.
However, I know some people do not have the privilege to be able to interact with people of different cultures daily. Not being exposed to certain types of people is the foundation for prejudice, and it can be easy for people in remote areas of the country to buy into negative news coverage about Muslims if they have not spent enough time around them.
To me, this issue begins and ends with how the media decides to portray Muslims in their coverage. Most outlets share the extremist side of Islam without giving due diligence to the peaceful side of the religion that is most common throughout the world.
Although it may not generate the most views or clicks, sharing the whole story about Muslim culture is a vital component in creating an educated population, and it’s the media’s responsibility to pursue this goal with integrity. While the current state of the media isn’t illustrating Islam in an ideal way, I am hopeful that eventually the religion will be treated with more parity in the future.